Posted by Newt on December 02, 2002 at 06:47:43:
In Reply to: Fern Help? posted by Mary Ann Matzer on October 03, 2002 at 07:01:58:
: I'm wanting to plant more ferns in my (shaded by oak & pine trees) back yard. Have had a little luck with the few I have (not sure what type fern I have, but is doing well with banana trees and Hostas). Can I plant hardy ferns this time of year here in Pensacola Florida? Or should I wait until spring. What soil preparations should I make: manure, miracle grow potting soil, ground oak & pine leaves on top of or tilled into existing soil, etc...is what I was thinking?
: Thank you for your help
: Mary Ann Matzer
I just came across your question about ferns. Hope it's not too late to offer some advise.
Since it's already December and I don't know your zone, you might want to wait until spring to plant. I am guessing that you are in zone 8. Here's a zip code zone finder.
The best thing you can do for your plants is to enrich the soil with compost. In nature the leaves and litter break down to make compost. You can buy it by the bag or in bulk. If you will be adding it under trees, put about 2" on the top of the soil and carefully work in so as not to destroy the tree roots. I've never planted under bananas, but adding the compost or even AGED manure will be fine. The ground oak and pine leaves will work well too as long as the oak leaves have aged about a year. You can mix them in or top dress using them as a mulch. The pine straw (leaves or needles) can be used as a mulch at any time and any mulch will help to retain the moisture in the soil. Had I answered this when you posted early in October, that would have been the perfect time to plant.
There are some ferns that will grow in dryer conditions. Here are three: Dryopteris, Polypodium, Polystichum munitum.
Hope this helped. Don't hesitate to contact me or post again on the forum if you need more help.